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Advocates urban redevelopment and renewal, 1950s-style. Supports many planning strategies which are criticized today: the destruction of "blighted" neighborhoods in the name of progress, autocentric planning and construction, and suburban sprawl.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: Baskaw (Frederick J).
Sponsor: Chamber of Commerce of the United States
Audio/Visual: Sd, C
Keywords: Infrastructure: Construction; City planning; Urban renewal
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Weird, stiff, could hurl one into depression.
Even setting aside my somewhat florid aesthetic tastes, I would say that my idea of what qualifies as historically significant does not stray far from the standards of the US's National Historic Register. I've yet to review their qualifications in detail, but would guess from having had the pleasure of living, wandering about, and working in places emblazoned with their seal that 'code' or above 'code' materials and artisan detailing figure in pretty frequently. 'Historically significant' is somewhat self-explanatory, isn't it? How about a Carnegie Library, for example? (I speak about the libraries only, not the man's ideals or business dealings).During the period in which this film was made, a number of such buildings were ripped down unneccessarily, there's no contesting that. Such short-sighted practises seemed to begin or at least pick up in the '50s and continue through to the late 1990s.
Car-parks/parking-lots are less efficient than garages, and public transportation, when 'well managed' (I put that in inverted commas because that's another discussion entirely), seems rather superiour to a seething mass of single commuters bashing into one another and clogging up massive swaths of freeway. The evidence revealing the bane of urban sprawl towers miles high. I mean, oxygen and greenery are rather nice, aren't they?
Sure, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I happen to love those lions, angels, and better still early art-deco stylised thisses-and-thats. There are even some marble, glass, and steel banks built in the '50s that catch my eye.
Regarding those contemporarily engineered protections against seismic, weather, and human-wrought disasters, my guess is that they are appreciated by most of us; surely we can keep in mind that old buildings are often shored up with them, too.
I just don't like this film. Bad ideas, scary footage.
Subject: What's with you people?
In fairness, they never said they would tear down a building with "historical significance". Not all old buildings are significant, some of them are buildings that just got old. Sometimes things *do* get old and outdated. I, for one, am glad I don't have to live and work in some old Victorian building with ugly angels and lions on it. What you call an "ugly steel & glass" structure, I call "normal". What's wrong with parking lots anyway? Do you have a car? Do you drive? Do you like not finding a parking space?
Subject: Exciting? destruction of historical artifacts is exciting?
What a discouraging film this is towards historic preservation, it is amazing the narrator's attitude towards historic well built buildings was to term them "obsolete"
One building- looked like a church, was so well built a wrecker's ball barely made a dent in the brickwork after several hits. It's amazing how we in this country built solid stone and brick buildings that could last 500 years with care like the do in Europe, and we tear them down after 20 or 40 years for "progress"
The narrator went on and on about how "exciting" the new changes in the cities are, and the camera pans on to the latest new stale concrete crackerbox-covered-with-shiney-glass highrise.
Thank GOODNESS people like these developers and real estate people shown in the film didn't really gear up ridiing our cities of these "obsolete old dumps" cause by now we would all be living in identical oured concrete crackerboxes covered with shiney glass and stainless steel.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: Let's Pave Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot!
According to this film, cities remain dynamic by tearing down ÂobsolescenceÂ, i.e. old buildings. ThatÂs right, folks, no matter how beautiful or how historically important a building may be, down it must come, in order to make room for more parking garages! And all the stores moving out to the suburbs donÂt affect the city one bitÂÂitÂs still as dynamic as ever! Why just look at all the wrecking balls and rubble! Actually, IÂm making this piece of urban renewal propaganda sound a lot more interesting than it isÂÂit drags on and on, with a droning narrator the only thing on the soundtrack. That is, if you can get to the actual film before falling asleepÂÂthe opening is the most tedious IÂve ever seen, featuring three guys from the United States Chamber of Commerce having the most boring conversation imaginable about how they made this film about cities and are selling a book to go with it. Perhaps the makers of the film attended too many tedious Chamber of Commerce dinners. Just wait until their headquarters gets torn down to create more parking.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
Subject: Tear down old buildings! Make New Parking Lots!
This okay film about the merits of urban sprawl, poopoos any meaning of the word "preservation" or "landmark building" to makeway for office buildings, shopping malls and of course, lots of parking lots. Introduced in the most bizarre way by representative of the "National Chamber, an organization deeply interested in your problens". This introduction is REALLY badly written, with "city" repeated like 50 times, somewhat inappropiately. From there, we get a little history of what makes a city grow, the film doesnt really kick in until the 2nd half where the narrator kicks in what makes cities great! No preservation needed here folks!